Thursday, August 20, 2015

Stuff: So long, Yvonne...


This week in comics and fandom we lost two big names. One of them was actress, producer, real estate broker, and activist Yvonne Craig, who lost her battle with cancer on August 17th at the age of 78.

Yvonne, in her early life, had a brilliant career as an up and coming Hollywood beauty, and actress, coming off what looked like what was going to be a career as a dancer. Appearing on both the TV screen and the silver screen, she shared the spot light with everyone from the cast of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. to Elvis Presley. Of course, her most iconic role that people remember her for was the plucky, smart, and sassy Barbra Gordon - aka Batgirl, daughter of Police Commissioner Gordon on the late 1960's Batman.

But for many more in the Scifi community she had another, more impressing role; albeit too brief. (In my humble opinion, anyways.) In 1969 she played the green skinned seductive, and insanely dangerous, Marta the slave girl in "Whom Gods Destroy"; an episode of Star Trek in which Captain Kirk has to go toe to toe with a criminally insane shape shifting master mind. And though there had been many before her, and many after her, she set the tone for the prevailing science fiction fetish of the green skinned alien babe.

Flash forward a couple of decades and I am a young cartoonist carving out my own title out of the love of another franchise based off of a strong alien babe and, what at first was planned to be a throw away character, becomes a permanent addition to the stories of Justin Bailey, and I need to flesh her out. But no mere metal bikini revolutionary or skin tight white jump suit colonel will do. No, I need a certain something that harkens back to the core elements of science fiction I'm trying to tap into. I need a green skinned alien babe. I need Yvonne.

To be honest, the character of Kali is only half built on Yvonne Craig's Marta. But the elements of her look and style are the core essentials that went on to shape her, the stories she'd be in, and the nature of the characters around her. In short, Kali became the substance of content that would add so much meaning to my silly scifi adventure comedy.

Thank you, Yvonne. I never got to say it in life, but thank you.